Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
On January 27th, after around a year and a half of construction, the move-in
day at our CLET dormitories had finally arrived.
The students and their families were very excited and joyful to be
housed together in the new housing units. We had a very festive dedication
service with singing, dancing, prayers, and preaching. Rev. Desirée Tade, a
member of the CLET faculty, led the service as liturgist. Rev. Micah Wildauer,
fellow LCMS-OIM missionary, preached in French. The president of the
Lutheran Church of Togo, Rév. Prés. Lambon, was present with several
fellow pastors in the ministerium of the Togo church. As part of the
dedication service, the pastors broke into teams to bless the individual
homes and the families that were going to live in them. We followed the
traditional Epiphany custom of chalking the doors. The formula 20 + C +
M + B + 18 is written over the lintel or next to the handle of the door. The
letters have two meanings. First, they represent the initials of the Magi -
Caspar, Malchior, and Balthazar - who came to visit Jesus in His first
home. They also abbreviate the Latin phrase, Christus mansionem
benedicat: "May Christ bless the house." The "+" signs represent the
cross, and the "20" at the beginning and the "18" at the end mark the year.
Taken together, this inscription confesses that Christ is the Lord who
blesses and dwells among the faithful who dwell in the home. In the
African context, this rite serves as a Christian replacement to traditional
pagan rites that involve animal sacrifice and the placing of blood on the
walls of a new house to offer protection and blessing to the family.
We also had a festive meal to commemorate the dedication. The wives
of the students and the ladies of the CLET women's school prepared a delicious
meal of guinea hens and peanut sauce soup over pounded yams and rice. The
local chiefs and families in the neighborhood also attended. It was a great
opportunity to strengthen ties with the local population and to invite them to hear
and see where our hope is in Jesus Christ.
This move-in day marks a big, positive change in the lives of our students
on our campus that we pray will help the students to focus on their studies. The
dormitories offer several amenities and features that are not usually available in
other housing arrangements in the city:
1. The housing is managed by the CLET - this spares the students the stress of
having to deal with Muslim and pagan landlords who treat foreigners unjustly.
2. The neighbors in the compound are other CLET students - sometimes when
the students are housed in larger compounds the wives who do not speak
French or the local
language will have
that can escalate quickly.
In our CLET community
among other Christians,
tensions can be more
easily and directly dealt
with before escalating
out of control.
3. The toilet facilities
have a closed septic
system - this system
has pipes that take the
waste and water
to a closed tank. This
Is a great improvement
over the old system:
a direct drop-down
outhouse-like setup where flies
can easily go in and out and spread
cholera, malaria, and other diseases.
4. There is a new well on campus
with fresh drinking water. Before
the students had to carry large,
plastic containers of water on their
shoulders or on their bikes back
home for use. Sometimes the city
water supply gets contaminated and
the students and their families would
become ill. Or they would have to
pay to use a neighbor's well closer to
home that could also become
contaminated. This new well is owned
by the CLET and is located just
meters from their front doors.
5. The electricity account will be
handled by the CLET - often the
students do not have electricity in
their rental rooms in the city and oftentimes the landlord will not pay the bill and
the electricity will get shut off. The new housing electricity will permit the
students to charge their tablets and study in the light overnight. Sometimes they
have had to forego doing their homework because there was no electricity in the
room to charge their tablet battery to read a book.
6. The buildings have elevated, concrete floors - in some houses in the city the
floors are dirt and oftentimes flooding occurs. This can damage the students'
property - especially books, which are expensive - and clothes. The floodwater
can also bring diseases into the home where the families sleep.
7. The buildings have windows on two sides - this allows for adequate airflow
which is better for health and for keeping the rooms cooler in the hot African sun.
8. There are hand washing sinks near the toilet facilities to reduce the risk of
We already have enough pledges for next year to complete a property
wall. This wall will add necessary security and it will permit the students to farm
the other two thirds of the property without their crops being damaged by
neighbors' pigs and other livestock. We are truly thankful for the generosity
from LCMS members that have permitted us to make this important addition to
Rev. Jacob W. Gaugert
Centre Luthérien D'Études Theologiques
Togocell # (+228) 93 43 95 26
T-Mobile Intl. # (262) 271-3813
About our Missionary ...